Reason number 189,373,910 why I love this community

April 6, 2017

The hardest part of running, or exercising in general, is taking the first step.  Some days it’s hard to motivate yourself to run.  There are a million and one excuses to stay home – it’s too hot.  It’s too cold.  It’s too early.  It’s too late.  I don’t feel like it.  The list goes on and on.  Once you start though, you quickly ask yourself why it was so hard to get going.  And I promise you, I have not once come home from a run and said to myself “I should have skipped that.”  Call it endorphins, call it pride at finishing, whatever the case may be…I’m always glad I took that first step.

So April 6th was no different – I was feeling unmotivated.  It took me almost 2.5 hours to convince myself I had enough energy for a run at all. I finally talked myself into a 5k route and headed out the door. It’s my old standby.  From my house, to the park, around the park twice, and back home.  3.1 miles, boom.  Done.  This run was hard, my breathing was off and I was still fighting to get into my groove.  By the time I got to the park, I was mentally beating myself up for losing so much conditioning.  After my marathon in January, I had nearly three months of little to no running due to a knee and Achilles injury.  I’d been cross training, building muscle, and finding my cardio in the form of the Arc Trainer and Expresso Bike.  While they helped, they were not the same as running.  Feet against the asphalt, heart pounding, mind freeing, running.

As I came to the park, I considered turning around and heading right home.  It would’ve been two miles round trip, and I could try again the next day.  My head was screaming to call it quits, but my heart knew I’d feel like I’d failed if I couldn’t even finish my 5k route.  So, I started up the hill by the tennis courts, battling my knee and my lungs.  Once I reached the pavilion at the top of the hill I knew I’d have a brief respite as I started the decent portion of the half mile loop.  As I neared the entrance to the park, I heard something over my music.  As I looked over my shoulder, I saw one of the wonderful YMCA families cheering me on with signs! That put a little pep in my step and joy in my heart. I literally knocked off a minute of my pace. Simply because my attitude had changed from “I can’t” to “I can.”

I thought as I rounded for my second and final lap around the park that surely they all would have gone back inside on the cool and rainy day. Yet, as I came to the park entrance for a second time, there they were! Cup of water in hand for me and high fives of encouragement! It was just what I needed to send me feeling full of love and gratitude on my way towards home.I thought all along that last mile how blessed I am to have this community and my job at the YMCA.  I also thought how I need to be more intentional about paying it forward in some way.  You see – you never know how a small act of kindness can impact someone you meet. A gentle act of selfless love can have a big impact on someone’s day. I need to remember that as I go to the store, go to work, go for a walk, whatever/wherever it may be. Treat others with kindness because you never know how that could impact there day and turn it around.

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